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Focus in on: All About Plumbing - Mico Development Team
May 21st, 12. Six very fortunate teenage Christchurch cyclists get the opportunity to train and race alongside former junior World Champion Jeremy Yates.
The All About Plumbing – Mico Development Team, launched at Le Race in March, made their Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series debut at the third round in Loburn on Saturday.
Mentored by the former Olympian, who has recently retired from the top level of cycling, the Christchurch based team was established to support and create a pathway for the next generation of New Zealand elite riders.
The team riders are Max Beckert, Luke Wieblitz, Tayler Reed, Sam Friend, Olly Marshall and Andrew Ward.
"Each of the riders, while only 16 or 17 years old, are good strong riders and are willing to commit to being an athlete and making a little bit of an investment themselves to the team," Team Manager Richard Aitken told RoadCycling.co.nz
The Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series is an opportunity for the riders to race together as a team, against other teams and to learn the intricacies of tour racing - feeding from cars, riding through the convoy etc. It also provides them with high level racing during the quieter months.
"Learning how to race as a team was one of the reasons I was keen to ride for the team," said Reed. "With Jeremy there he has exponential knowledge we could never learn and he (although he may not say so) has taught us a lot. Jeremy really is an asset that none of the other teams really have access to."
Max Beckert was the best placed of the team in Saturday's Benchmark Homes achieving a credible 10th after a tough race. On Sunday, Reed finished second in A-Grade at Christchurch's Winter Worlds (Christchurch's winter racing series) after the teammates executed their plan to perfection.
In addition to developing the riders on the bike, there is focus on developing the riders as athletes.
This includes learning about professionalism, sponsor and media interaction - the team have already had a RoadCycling.co.nz media training session!
Guidance from the topYates selected the riders not only based on their results, but also on their willingness to be active in races and to be team players.
Under 23 double national champion Michael Vink, who races for the related Mico-Protrain senior team when in New Zealand, was also involved in the selection criteria.
"I received a lot of help over the years and I want to give back to the sport that has given me so much," Yates said when he announced the team in March.
"Together with Richard Aitken from All About Plumbing we decided the best way to do that was to start a development team.
He believes the All About Plumbing-Mico team is the ideal way to help young riders who are looking to make the step up to elite level racing.
"It will show our other Kiwi hopefuls there is a solid pathway from club and domestic racing to an international career. As I am back on the building site, my role in the team is mainly as a mentor. I want to be accessible to answer all of the questions I had as a younger rider, and also to pass down some of my knowledge for free - especially on race day! I will ride with the team when I can and hopefully put in a few races as well."
Team manager Richard Aitken's All About Plumbing business, is the title sponsor of the team.
"We were looking to further extend the brand in the cycling community to build upon the other sponsorship we alredy have. It was a good fit," said Aitken.
All About Plumbing has sponsored many Christchurch based cycling events over the last six years and are a main sponsor of the Elite Road National Championships.
The other title sponsor is Mico Bathrooms, who also sponsor the elite domestic trade team Mico-Protrain.
"They are one of the key sponsors of the elite cycling team and we have a strategic partnership with them. They were willing to come on board at a local level and get behind the project which is firmly Christchurch based," said Aitken.
There may be the opportunity for one of the riders to be offered a spot in the senior Mico-Protrain domestic trade team for the coming season.
Other supporter includes Vis-com – a Christchurch based sign writing business which has been involved in cycling over the last 10 years, Rexon Radios and Yates Construction, Jeremy Yates' recently established business.
Keep an eye on these boys - they are names you are likely to hear a lot more of in the future!
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